Dutch and Estonian Armies’ UGV THeMIS procurement paves way for future opportunities

Following the contract award from the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment of THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for the Dutch and Estonian armies;

Stelios Kanavakis, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the contract:

“This contract award reinforces the value of UGVs in today’s battlefield and the fact that they can become an integral part of ground units. As the concept of use is steadily gaining momentum, this latest contract is a testament for more UGVs to be acquired in the future.

“The contract was awarded to Milrem Robotics and it involves the delivery of four vehicles to the Dutch Army’s and three to the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF). The new Dutch UGVs will join the two already in service with the 13th Light Brigade. These had been procured and tested in different scenarios, including in areas of Germany, Austria, Scotland and the Netherlands. At the same time, the Estonian force in Mali had the opportunity to use the UGVs in the African environment and validate the technical characteristics of the platform during actual operations.

“These operational experiences and military exercises allow forces to understand the full range of capabilities UGVs offer and how these can serve current missions. Moreover, as with every new technology, the military leadership can acquire valuable lessons on how to integrate such systems in the current force structure or adapt the latter to the new reality.

“An important aspect of the acquisition is that the Dutch Army will equip the platforms with remote weapon systems (RWS) operated by a soldier. That is a new capability for the service and will further help to prove the concept of integrating weaponized UGVs in a ground force. It will remove soldiers from harm’s way and drastically increase the firepower of a light force such as the 13th Light Brigade, the Dutch Marines or the 11th Airmobile Brigade. Given that the Netherlands and Estonia are part of NATO, the lessons learned will proliferate quicker, thus helping the UGV market grow faster – something that Milrem will have a lot to benefit from.”

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